For Slovakia, an ultimatum has been issued: Either shape up or be shipped out. That's the message in a resolution released by the European Parliament (EP) which "demanded" that the government "abandon its attempts" to oust the Democratic Union (DU) from parliament and let the police force complete the investigation into the alleged kidnapping of Mchal Kováč, Jr., the president's son, "without political interference." (see both the EP's resolution and excerpts from the Slovak Foreign Ministry's response below).
The Mečiar administration's failure to follow the instructions, the communiqué read, could mean a temporary dead end to Slovakia's push for EU and NATO membership. Lumping the DU and the Kováč, Jr. incidents under "respect for democracy, human and minority rights and the rule of law," the EP said continuation of these policies would lead it "to reconsider its programme of assistance and cooperation under the Europe Agreement which might have to be suspended."
The Foreign Ministry responded by calling the communication channels between the government and the EP a "monologue." After the initial emotion, however, the statement took great pains to make its case that Slovakia is a young country making great strides in an "irreversible" march toward democracy and economic transformation.
The European Parliament is:
A. Gravely concerned by the new attempt by the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Mr Mečiar, to expel the Democratic Union Members of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, although their election has been declared legal by the Supreme Court,
B. Gravely concerned by the fact that three successive police officers, in charge of investigating the abduction and maltreatement of the son of President Kováč, were dismissed, resigned or were placed under investigation when they sought to examine the role of the secret police in this affair, and noting with concern the continuing efforts of certain political parties to force the head of state out of office,
C. Concerned that a number of politicians and journalists trying to investigate the background to this affair have received anonymous threats, resulting even in physical harassment in several cases, and that the investigation into this harassment by the police have been delayed,
D. Concerned that the opposition parties represented in the Slovak National Council are not properly represented in the leading bodies of the Parliament, as is sound democratic practice in all the Member States of the European Union and in other countries with democratic traditions,
E. Whereas the Slovak Republic has signed a Europe agreement with the EU; whereas adherence to democratic principles and respect for human rights constitute a kay principle of these contractual relations;
1. Demands that the Slovak Government bandon its attempts to deprive democratically elected members of the Slovak National Council of their seats;
2. Demands that the Slovak police be allowed to complete their inquiry into the abduction of the son of the President without political interference;
3. Calls on the Prime Minister, Mr. Mečiar, to guarantee all citizens regardless of political affiliation the right of freedom of expression in the media and public life;
4. Points out to the Government of the Slovak Republic that, if it continues to follow policies which show insufficient respect for democracy, human and minority rights and the rule of law, it will be necessary for the European Union to reconsider its programmes of assistance and cooperation under the Europe Agreement which might have to be suspended;
5. Calls on the EU-Slovak Republic Joint Parliamentary Committee to discuss all thise matters with the representatives of all Slovak political parties represented in the Slovak National Council and insists that any conclusions adopted at such meetings should reflect the deep concern expressed by the European Parliament;
6. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the President and the Government of the Slovak Republic, the Slovak National Council and the Secretaries-General of the Council of Europe and the OSCE.
The standpoint of the Slovak Republic, among others, is:
...We cannot accept such a form of communication between the European Parliament and the Slovak Republic that cannot be called a dialogue, not a discussion. It is a monologue which has been decided without listening to theo other side's arguments.
...Approval of such a resolution can be counterproductive and could seriously damage slovakia's long-term efforts to integrate into European and trans-Atlantic structures.
...The Slovak Government and the Cabinet Coalition in the Slovak Parliament would highly appreciate it if the honored EP deputies could consider the reservations included in the statement. Slovakia is prepared to discuss any question of interest of the EP relevant to the European Agreement between the EU and the Slovak Republic as a sovereign country, based on reciprocity and mutual honor between real partners in building Europe's future.
...In a relatively short period of time, Slovakia contributed to stability and prosperity in Central Europe. The process of transformation and democratization of Slovakia is irreversible.
23. Nov 1995 at 0:00